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Gov. McAuliffe Signs Palliative Care Bill
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American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
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Governor Signs Palliative Care Bill
RICHMOND, Va. (May 17, 2017) – Earlier today on the Virginia Commonwealth University campus, Governor Terry McAuliffe participated in a bill-signing ceremony for Virginia’s Palliative Care Information and Resources Bill. This legislation requires the Virginia Department of Health to use their website to make information and resources on palliative care available to the public, health care professionals and health care facilities. The bill is scheduled to go into effect on July 1.
Palliative care is a fast-growing medical specialty that improves a patient’s quality of life by focusing on relief from pain, stress and other symptoms of a serious illness like cancer.
“This bill is designed to remove one the biggest barriers to patients receiving palliative care,” said Gov. McAuliffe, “By eliminating confusion among patients and health care professionals, we can build a common and comprehensive understanding of how palliative care can improve quality of life for patients suffering from cancer and other diseases.”
Research shows that patients with a serious illness who receive palliative care have fewer trip to emergency rooms, spend less time in the hospital, have fewer hospital readmissions, and generally experience a better quality of life during treatment. While most large hospitals have palliative care or supportive care teams on staff, patients often don't know to ask about these available support services during their treatment.
“The governor and members of the General Assembly deserve our praise for taking an important first step toward improving access for palliative care,” said Brian Donohue, Virginia’s government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “We hope their commitment to this specialty will grow as the benefits of palliative care become even clearer in helping to control health care costs in the state.”
Over the last 10 years, palliative care has been one of the fastest-growing trends in health care. The number of palliative care programs within hospital settings has increased by 138 percent since 2000.
The American Cancer Society projects that 42,770 people in Virginia will be diagnosed with cancer in 2017. Additionally, there are an estimated 373,580 people living in the state who have survived cancer.
About ACS CAN
ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit https://www.fightcancer.org/.